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Call to safeguard UK night flights


A business group is urging the Government to maintain night flying operations at London's three big airports as its consultation into the issue draws to a close.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI ) says night flights to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports are a unique and vital part of the British economy, allowing timely movements of goods and getting business travellers to their destinations ahead of the next working day.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is concluding its consultation into night flying over the capital and has been reviewing opinions from many interested parties on the future of operations.

In a response document the CBI said that many business flights could not be taken in the daytime and night flying is crucial to the performances of many important industry sectors in the UK in improving connectivity, raising productivity, developing strong supply chains and boosting competitiveness internationally.

A breakdown of industry figures revealed that flying at night injected £1.2 billion into the UK economy in 2011, providing work for 18,700 people and making £197 million in tax for the Exchequer.

The CBI told the DfT that night flying is currently "working well" but also rewarding manufacturers and operators for building and using quieter aircraft that are reducing the impact night-time flying is having on people living near to airports, although it admitted that more needed to be done to reduce noise.

It advised that the DfT should allow night flying to continue and allow further room to manoeuvre to avoid hampering Britain's economic recovery.

It also told the DfT that eight more routes to China had the potential to increase trade by £1 billion and improving connectivity to China and other developing nations is vital to the economy, with over a half of companies indicating that they are not satisfied with the level of night flight services currently available from the UK to these increasingly important destinations.

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